Summary of survey
We earnestly thank those of you who answered our recent Contact survey. You both encouraged and challenged us.
In this letter, we report on what we learned.
The survey was conducted in October.
The highlight for us came in your affirmations of the statement: "I definitely want to keep receiving Contact."
A total of 97 percent agreed. Among four choices, 85 percent selected agree strongly, and 12 percent, agree somewhat. Not one chose disagree strongly.
Answers to "What is missing that you would like to see?" will continue to test us most. One word sums up those responses: more.
Requests ranged from more articles about individual churches (small and large) to personal faith stories, from promoting programs and resources to interviews on topical social issues. And more.
This letter provides us a chance to answer one request. "We need a page on where to look for grants," said one reader. We suggest: www.okumc.org/awards.
People want global denomination news, too. When the Contact was partnered with The United Methodist Reporter, each issue had 16 pages — half of them produced by the Reporter and focused beyond Oklahoma. But that publication ceased in May 2013.
The eight-page Contact prints every three weeks.
Perhaps responses to another question point out Contact’s ongoing efforts to provide more.
"What is least valuable to you?" the survey asked. Again, most answers were affirming.
• "Each issue is so varied; it’s all good and there’s not any one specific thing least valuable."
• "All are of value to different persons."
• "I read it all. Maybe the help-wanted section, but I read them, too."
Job listings were less important, several said. But 57 percent of survey responders were age 65 or older.
In 2006, Contact previously conducted a survey. Only 6 percent of those responding said they read it online, yet 72 percent said they used the Internet. The latest survey showed online readership at 19 percent.
Also in 2006, most people (85 percent) said they read every issue. The 2014 survey asked people how much of an issue they read; 63 percent said cover-to-cover, and 34 percent answered "selected stories."
Contact’s readers extend its value by: giving their copy to someone else, sharing specific content with someone else, and saving all or part of it for further use. They value it especially as an educational resource (70 percent) and as personal reference material (68 percent).
The 2006 evaluation drew 1,235 responses to 28 questions. That survey was mailed to each subscriber, along with a prepaid envelope.
Responses to the 2014 survey totaled 84. Seventeen questions were printed in the nonprofit newspaper and online at www.okumc.org.
The Apportionment for the Communications Department is the nonprofit Contact’s major funding source.
With more than 500 churches in the Oklahoma Conference and limited Contact staff, you are invited to submit articles, photos, and ideas that succeed for your church. We welcome those. Reach editor Holly McCray at email@example.com or 405-530-2076.
— Joseph Harris,